It won’t happen right a way. A loss to the Oakland Raiders alone wouldn’t cost anyone their job on its own. After all, the saying “any given Sunday” is a real thing in the NFL. It’s what happens after that will be Tomlin’s undoing. Dropping the game to the Raiders would be the team’s third loss in a row, with huge games against the Patriots and Saints upcoming. Now you’re looking at losing five of six down the stretch, and the very real possibility of missing the playoffs. Even a coach like Mike Tomlin, with all his accomplishments, would have a hard time surviving that kind of finish.
The debate on whether or not to fire Mike Tomlin has been going on for years now. He has managed to get himself in this very odd situation with the Steelers. Having never had a losing season, how can the team justify firing him? At the same time this team has not reached the Super Bowl in going on nine years despite having some of the best offensive talent in the league. It’s like the NFL version of purgatory. That’s why this game against the Raiders is so important. A win on Sunday and once again the Steelers are guaranteed to have another winning season. They would go 9-6-1 at worst, win the division, and we are right back where they always are. A loss however, would have to get even the reluctant Steelers brass thinking about a change. Sure they could lose to the Raiders, then sneak a win against New England or New Orleans. Possible……..but not very likely.
The cracks in this team have already begun to form. The Chargers exposed some real weaknesses in the Steelers pass defense. Smart coaches like Gruden, Belichick, and Sean Payton are sure to test them even further. On offense, the team will even be more one dimensional against Oakland with the loss of James Conner. Add that to the fact they haven’t won a game in Oakland since 1995, and suddenly this game becomes a bit more scary. Mike Tomlin will have his hands full on Sunday, and his job may depend on how this game turns out. It sounds crazy to say for a team that is 7-4-1 and currently in first place, but it could lead to the Steelers free falling right out of the playoffs. And that, not even Mike Tomlin could survive.